Face Value

March 23, 2018:

Following a conversation with Magdalena, a morning with Robert and Tom

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Magdalena, Lara Croft, Sara Pezzini, the Curator, Tilly Grimes

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

It's more than likely — to judge by Tom's grimace — that he knows or at least suspects why — not that he seems apt to voice it. Instead, he focuses on the free coffee and food. It means he misses the man staring in at them — at Vivienne. Priorities.

The human wall that Vivienne had been creating for the light sensitive Robert Bearclaw and the hungover Tom Judge now departed the atmosphere has changed, enough that the comfort level is leaving them. A wad of cash tucked underneath the bill and a cup he is departing.

"Walk and talk some more? Get an angle on this and maybe you can explain to me what a Tilly is."

A friendly enough invitation but Ripclaw is making sure to walk to the side of the street where the city is still in darkness they have some time at least.

Judging by the way Tom pulls his sunglasses on, he's definitely no fan of the brightness any more than his new companion is. There's a grunt that might or might not be agreement, but either way he's leaving the place with Robert, settling into a slouching walk beside him on the darker streets of New York.

"Can't tell you about Tilly. Not until the numbers are right," the tall ex-priest finally says, albeit with a little bark of laugh like he's told a little joke. "Maybe soon, maybe not." He gives a shift of his shoulder, briefly.

"What did you make of her?" He doesn't specify who, but the jerk of thumb back in the direction of the place they just left might indicate the Magdalena. But then, it could just as easily indicate the pretty waitress he was making eyes at.

The hood of Robert's sweater comes up, joining Tom in that shield fromt he outside. Broad shoulders sloping forth as hands vanish in to the front portion, bootheels clicking as he walks, "I'll work with a maybe."

"The Magdalena? Insightful yet shrewd, a good warrior but she has the Church at her back and Faith, any of the faithful and those who bare a cross of any kind… " A look over, a grin under that shadowed piece of cloth, white teeth and red eyes.

"They make me uneasy. I often question sanity but then, I sound a bit like a hypocrite in that. Theres a point… " A pause, a look back, "Or did you mean our waitress? Pretty eyes, great chest."

"The Church can't be trusted," there's a fierceness behind the words that speak of some personal animosity, undoubtedly tied to the reason why he still wears that priest's collar loose around his neck. "And they've trained her from birth — which means their interests are her interests. She's too be watched, as much as this Curator of yours."

It's that oh-so-sly comment and look that brings the thin man to an abrupt stop and earns a growled, "I'm nothing like them."

"I'll take your word for it." Robert has noticed the white collar, not mentioned it, nor has he curbed his phrasing for it though, "She seems earnest, not an inquisitor out to burn anything thats got a crook to it's gait. Then again, manipulation and lies are no foreign element in any of this."

Turning his head down as they walk dark hair falls out of that hood, draping down his chest, the dead halt has the mutant turning, half-stepping himself, looking calmly over his shoulder, "No… maybe. We'll see, right? We're all at face value right now. "

"I'm not aiming to insult you… just to understand."

And so they are. Face value — and Tom Judge's face reads all kind of wary suspicion — though at least he's consistent in that tune. Finally — mollified or conceding the point — he starts moving again, albeit more slowly.

"I… wouldn't have thought one of her ilk would've wanted to kill and Angel. What do you make of that?" he asks, cautiously.

"Thats not the first of those Angels I have seen, they're as savage as any demon I've yet to witness." A thoughtful noise escapes Robert's throat and hes moving again, long strides slowing to remain in talking distance with Tom, "I agree though, some part of me expected a kneel and prayer, awe or something akin to worship but… she had no hesitation in striking it down when she realized what blood was upon it's hands."

"Thats a testament as well. To where she places value. Or so I would like to think."

"Mm," either Tom doesn't agree or he's mulling it over while they walk. "I heard of the Magdalena, before. That they indoctrinate them to be a weapon of the Church. I imagine it's only a matter of time before she realizes what I—" he cuts himself off, abruptly, as that wariness kicks in again.

He continues, a moment later, like it never happened: "I've dealt with my share of demons. They're pretty blunt instruments. They want the Rapture, just as badly as that Angel seemed to."

"I thought it… she was a fable. A story made up largely by an old rez drunk. Appears there is truth to it."

"You think she'll turn you in to the church for… what exactly?" They're crossing streets, under lights and towards the more residential, almost like Ripclaw is trying to steer them away from the sun, keeping it at their backs.

"There is more than just them who want the Rapture, mortals I am aware of, the living. How do you react to those when that happens or has it yet?"

"The Church, just as much as anyone — anything — would want its hands on the Rapture, I've no doubt," Tom says with a growled heat. "Why wouldn't she serve it up to them? She is theirs."

It's the latter question that catches Tom off guard, glancing sidelong at Ripclaw. "I haven't exactly decided fully, yet," he says, wryly — like Robert is one of those. "But I'm not about to jump in and play big happy family either."

"I have no interest in your cursed artifact. None of them." Robert says firmly, "If it was for me to possess one, I would. That is very much your burden to bend under. Who I am, what I am… I'm here to help take some of that weight off is all."

"For the greater good." He murmurs, realizing how that sounds out loud.

"I hope you make the right choice when the time comes on both fronts. We're going to be tested and we will find strength in others. I'm proof of that already… Detective Pezzini and Miss Croft, they've saved me and likewise. You need us."

Tom Judge's grunt might well suggest he's reserving judgment on that. Clearly, the 'greater good' isn't a claim he's apt to believe easily. His abrupt grimace might at first seem a reaction to Robert's latter words, but no — it's just a pained reaction to the sharp spear of sunlight that briefly falls over him as they cross the walk. "You make it sound so fun and appealing," he notes, dryly, "How could I possibly say no to that?"

You need us. After a beat, he says flatly: "That remains to be seen." He rubs a hand over the stubbled hair on his chin, before he asks cautiously, "What do you know about the Rapture, anyway?"

"I have a way with words I am told." Robert grunts. While his eyes slant at the sunlight coming down he stops and stares up, squinting his features to a clench, red eyes barely visible, "Lets have this same conversation in a few weeks time."

"What I know of it is only from the Curator's collections. "It is one of the Thirteen, a a famous mathematician, I can't remember his name… opened a portal to Hell with it. Then it vanished. It's a doorway sealed in to the physical, it can spread that influence, reach it out in to this world, apparently even encase it's user in hellrock and flame. At least I am going to assume thats what I seen. Thats all I really know, the basics, what is a lot of supposed iand possibles. Nothing more. Corruptive, they all are. How it corrupts… I guess we're going to see that also."

A glare through the brightness is fixated on Tom, "Are you afraid of it? The Rapture?"

Tom Judge is not a man that really lives for the future much, these days — and therefore putting off an awkward conversation to a later date is totally fine with him. He gives an easy, accepting nod to that proposal.

He's silent while Robert talks of what he knows about the Rapture, expression darkening when he mentions corruption. "No," is his instinctive response to the other man's question. But it is not a truthful response, for all that. His shoulders shift, and he squints as more sunlight spills across them. "I need to go crash."

Robert stops and turns to look at Tom, "I'm not stopping you but I am going to be looking out for you, wanted or not. I dont find you to be a horrible or wretched thing thats beyond itself yet. So, you may not accept us yet but… " A shrug of shoulders, "We shall see where this all leads."

A skip off the sidewalk and Ripclaw is walking off, still on that same path away from the sun, "See you next time, Tom Judge."

Tom's lips twist, kind of wryly. "Maybe I'll see you, Robert Berresford," comes the ex-priest's response, before he strides off in the other direction.

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